Participating in a book club is an excellent way to dive into a new book, hold yourself accountable for lifelong learning, and build a community of readers. But what if you want to start a book club with members who live in different time zones? Let’s look at a few considerations anyone who wants to start a book club should think about.

When you envision a book club, you might imagine a group of people who gather at a member’s house once a month to eat snacks and talk about a book they just read. Although this might describe a traditional book club, there are many formats a book club can take. This is especially true when starting a book club where members live and work in different parts of the world.


Starting a Book Club

When you’re ready to start a book club, there are a few steps to take to ensure success. You will want to establish your group and set a system for choosing a book to read as a club. As you navigate the challenges of living in different time zones, you’ll also want to decide on a format, have an online discussion space, and host live discussions, too.


Establish Your Group

What is the focus of your book club? As you establish your book club, bring a group of readers together who have a similar mission. For example, they may want to read more nonfiction books or have a favorite genre like historical fiction. As you establish your group, choose people who are committed to participating in a club and come to the table with different perspectives.


Choose a Book

When your book club members are participating from different places, having an online polling tool to choose a new book can come in handy. Create a survey form for members to vote on book choices or use a tool that lets them rank their preferences.


Decide on a Format

 If your members are far away from one another, a hybrid format of asynchronous and synchronous meetings might be the best fit for your group. For example, you can create a discussion space where members can log in at a time that works best for their schedule and post a message when they finish a chapter. You can also have live video calls where members log in at the same time for a live discussion.


Host a Live Discussion

Try pairing a discussion space you set up for members to post comments on their own schedule with a few live discussions. To figure out the best time for everyone to meet, you might send a survey to your group. Then, depending on where members log in from, you might want to host a morning or evening call and alternate the time each time you meet.

A book club provides a space to connect with other people who share the same passion for reading great books. Starting a book club with members who live far apart is easier than ever with access to digital tools. Even if your members live in different time zones, you can still come together to share your questions, reactions, and takeaways from your reading experiences.


Monica Burns, Ed.D. is a curriculum and educational technology consultant, and founder of She hosts the Easy EdTech Podcast and is author of Tasks Before Apps: Designing Rigorous Learning in a Tech-Rich Classroom.

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